How to Spritz like an Italian

Friends of mine are in Italy right now, and every so often I get a glimpse of their adventures on my socials- the ancient streets, the vibrant markets…the afternoon spritz

I might have been jealous of their travels if my Italian friend, Margherita, hadn’t invited me and a few friends over to her place for a little aperitivo of our own. We each brought a few appetizers to share, popped open a bottle of prosecco and toasted the beginning of summer with Aperol spritz.

Lo spritz‘, afternoon happy hour in Italy, is designed to be social. It involves sharing plates, small bites and of course, the spritz cocktail. This effortless entertaining over seasonal, simple fare is my strategy for gathering with friends this summer and in a short blog series, I’m going to show you how to spritz like an Italian.

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Mini Citrus Pavlovas

A quick check of the weather before I sat down to write this post informed me that another snowstorm was on the way.

We may be all dreaming of spring, with its rhubarb galettes and strawberry pie, but the reality is that we’ll be embracing citrus fruits for a while still here in Montreal. That’s fine with me, because a friend’s new book, Simply Citrus, is inspiring me to stock up on grapefruit and tangerines, limes and lemons.

Around here, blustery winds and fresh snowdrifts are totally normal for March, and today’s mini pavlovas match the elements.  Crisp white meringues are reminiscent of the frosty snowbanks that blanket our homestead from end to end, while soft peaks of whipped cream cover them like the freshly fallen snow.

I think winter desserts are every bit as elegant as summer, and pavlovas are at the absolute top of the list. Read on for the mini citrus pavlova recipe, plus a giveaway of Simply Citrus.

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Flavoured water for morning, noon and night

Let’s make a pact to stay hydrated this summer, okay?

My love of flavoured water almost seemed too simple to blog about, but I reminisced over many, many basic tutorials I’ve shared in this space and reminded myself they are some of my most popular content. So, I’m here to convince you that infusing your drinking water with gorgeous summer produce is the ticket to staying refreshed (and kicking any soda habit) in the hot months to come.

Three flavoured water recipes | Simple Bites #recipe

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Lunchbox Renewal & All-Purpose Citrus Boost Dressing

You know you’re in trouble when your lunchbox board on Pinterest fails to spark any excitement.

All around us, a spring renewal of sorts is in progress. My Facebook friends are donating their entire closet of clothes in favour of something called a ‘capsule wardrobe’. My neighbour is filling half his driveway with junk every Wednesday for the garbage man to take. And in nature, florescent greens are overtaking the soft browns with each passing day.

One thing hasn’t changed: the doldrums of the bagged lunch. Danny and my boys take one every day, but the school year is long and we still have two months until summer vacation. Can we revive the lunchbox? I think so.

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Blood Orange Panna Cotta

Here’s a dessert I’ve never written about but has been a favourite of mine since I first learned to make it in a small bistro kitchen: Panna Cotta. Ironically, it was a French chef who taught me this classic Italian dessert, during my short stint as a pastry chef in my twentes.

I’ve always loved the Panna Cotta for it simplicity. It was one of the items on my daily prep list that I could breeze through and let my mind drift out of the cramped kitchen in the process. I’d open carton after carton of heavy cream, warm it slowly with sugar and vanilla bean and then whisk the hot cream into bloomed gelatine. From there I would pour the vanilla-scented cream into dozens and dozens of martini glasses and set them on racks in the refrigerator to chill.

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